GOOD PEOPLE DO NOT GO TO HEAVEN
A. (Joh.14:1-6) When asked who is going to heaven, most people would probably say “people who are good.” Their idea of who goes to heaven follows such reasoning as: “There is a good God who lives in a good place reserved for good people.”
B. But when you ask someone, who is considered to be a very good person, if they know whether they are going to heaven, the response is usually, “I hope so.”
C. Are you good enough to go to heaven?
I. THE PROBLEMS WITH THE GOOD PEOPLE GO TO HEAVEN IDEA
A. Other than perfection (Lev.18:5), there is no clear-cut definition of how good one must be to go to heaven. How good does a person have to be to get to heaven? What standard do we go by?
a. people depend on religious leaders to tell them, but they give conflicting answers
b. we cannot rely on our consciences to tell us if we are good enough
c. it may surprise you, but God does not even tell you how good you have to be
a. suppose that God did tell you, would you be good enough?
b. will God judge on a curve? (Ezek.18:20; Rom.3:23)
d. there is no standard test under the New Covenant of Jesus Christ
B. If good people go to heaven, then Jesus is a liar! Jesus taught that good people do not go to heaven. In fact He taught that bad people can go
a. He taught that God intended to not give people what they deserved (1Tim.2:4)
b. His teaching that good people do not go to heaven contradicted what the religious leaders believed (such was so unsettling that they had Jesus arrested & crucified)
a. they could not tolerate someone going around declaring that good people would not go to
heaven – when it came to keeping law
b. the Pharisees were the best at trying to keep Moses’ law (made additional rules to help them)
c. Pharisees & lawyers became irritated when Jesus publicly announced that their righteousness was not good enough to get them into God’s kingdom (Mt.5:20)
d. they could not tolerate someone going around declaring that God loves bad people & that bad can go to heaven (Mt.21:31; Mt.11:19)
e. Jesus interpreted the law in such a way that made it impossible for everyone, even a Pharisee, to keep it (Mt.5:21,22)
f. if the goodness of the most pious is not good enough, how can anyone else make it to heaven?
C. There are no good people (Lu.18:18,19; Rom.3:10,23)
II. BAD PEOPLE GO TO HEAVEN
A. If you think that God lets good people into heaven, then you do not know the God of the Bible!
B. After informing those who thought they were good enough to go that they were hell bound, Jesus would then turn to people considered to be the dregs of society & assure them they would have a heavenly home (Mt.21:31).
C. Examples of God letting bad people into heaven.
a. thief on the cross (Lu.23:32,33,39-42)
a. worthless/wasted self-serving life by his own admission
b. no position to bargain (no chance to make amends or turn over a new leaf - he is nailed to a cross & about to die)
c. what would you have told him (he may have raped your sister or murdered your brother before he was arrested)
d. what would you expect Jesus to tell him? Jesus told him he would be in Paradise that day (Lu.23:43)
b. contemporary case of Jeffery Dahmer (“I’m so sorry for what I’ve done. God help me, I’ll never do that again”?)
D. It is little wonder why many people refused to take His teachings seriously, for Jesus promised bad people precisely what they didn’t deserve.
a. that is why the religious leaders got rid of Him.
b. to agree with Jesus would be to embrace a theology that completely goes against what most people are taught to believe – that through your own obedience/goodness you make it to heaven
III. HOW BAD PEOPLE CAN GO TO HEAVEN
A. The unique thing about Christianity that sets it apart from all other religions is that it has a savior/deliverer that saves/redeems bad people (Joh.3:16,17; Rom.5:6,8,10).
B. Bad people are able to go to heaven because they allow God to forgive & justify them. Examples of forgiven & justified people:
a. prodigal son (Lu.15:11-13; 22-28)
b. woman caught in adultery (Joh.8:11)
c. the Corinthians (1Cor.6:9-22)
C. Someone once said, “One of the surprises of heaven will be seeing who made it and who didn’t.”
IV. STUMBLING OVER THE STUMBLINGBLOCK
A. While most of the religious leaders of the 1st century world stumbled over Christ’s teachings that good people do not go to heaven, but only bad people who are justified, some today are stumbling over Christ.
a. the world in general reject Him
b. some brethren reject Him by having their trust in their own goodness
B. Tragically, many of our people try to blend Christ’s teachings with their good people go to heaven theology, but they do not mix. Though denied, it is evident that some think their own righteousness contributes to their salvation, making them co-saviors with Jesus..
a. what man does is stress in lessons & even in selection of certain songs
b. irritated when lessons are presented that emphasize God’s grace
c. no assurance of eternal life (Rom.8:1; 1Jn.5:13)
d. those of the flesh are still persecuting those of the promise
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